Jaunty, unabashed blowing from saxophonist Garnett and his hard playing pals.
In the two-tenor attack, think a souped-up version of Johnny Griffin and Eddie Lockjaw Davis, Garnett and Tim Armacost bounding around like labradors.The quintet divert into Wayne Shorter Speak No Evil-type terrain early on carving their way skilfully through Garnett’s own tune ‘Charlie’s World,’ named after the saxophonist’s young son, Andromeda definitely the sort of page turning album that’s meant to be ‘read’ at one sitting, Pigfoot pianist Liam Noble adding suitably laconic comping sneaking in plenty of elaborate harmonies, or bassist Michael Janisch bouncing everyone into shape like a pork-pie hat wearing drill sergeant, helped in no small measure by drummer James Maddren keeping better time than your average Sekonda.
There’s a certain wit in the playing throughout, for instance on the title track, a weary ballad that packs in a lot in terms of interpretation. Sheer speed too gets a big spot on the frantic Shakespearian homage ‘Delusions of Grandma’ while later tune ‘Holmes’ is swung hard led off after a hep Rosebud-like instruction, Maestro, becoming helium high in the mock comic rendering of the word. The writing throughout (mostly Garnett’s) is very convincing and this is a much better showcase overall for the saxist’s Tubby Hayes standard talent than the quartet album Serpent from three years back. Stephen Graham
Released on 26 January. Alex Garnett, above. Photo: Whirlwind